TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 783
Congregation B'nai Israel (Temple Israel) was informally organized in 1856, some seven years before the creation of the state of West Virginia. The Congregation's cemetery was founded even earlier, in 1836, and is the oldest Jewish cemetery in West Virginia.
The Congregation was legally chartered in 1873 as the Hebrew Educational Society. The first services were held in rooms over a store on Capital Street with 16 members present. Congregation B’nai Israel was among the original members of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism) which was organized that same year in Cincinnati.
In 1875, the Congregation moved to a small temple on Lee Street. In 1894 the Congregation erected and moved to a new building on Virginia Street that was dedicated by Dr. Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of the UAHC and the Hebrew Union College. In 1960 the congregation moved from Virginia Street to its current home on Kanawha Boulevard at Chesapeake Avenue.
Many accomplished rabbis have served the Congregation. Among these were Dr. Israel Bettan (1911-1922), who later became Professor of Homiletics at the Hebrew Union College, and Dr. Maurice Eisendrath (1926-1928), a significant influence in the development of Reform Judaism, who became the president of the UAHC.
--This note, with slight revisions, was taken from the congregation’s history as it appears on the Temple Israel website.
The Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.) Records consist of records of the congregation, including ledgers, cash books, and minutes, together with records of the congregational cemetery and Temple Sisterhood. This collection provides insight into one of the oldest and most renowned congregations in the American Jewish experience.
This collection is arranged in one (1) series:
Terms of Access and Use
The Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.) Records are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
Property and Literary Rights
Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.), by the act of donating the Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.) Records to the American Jewish Archives, assigned all property rights to the American Jewish Archives.
Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.). Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.). Nearprint Geography.
Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.). Photographs. PC-670.
Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.). CD-778-778c.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.). and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-783. Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.) Records. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.) Records were received from Temple Israel, Charleston, W. Va., in 2010.
Processed by Kevin Proffitt, January, 2011.
No further accruals are expected to this collection.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the American Jewish Archives's online catalog.
Charleston (W. Va.)
Jewish cemeteries -- West Virginia -- Charleston
Jewish women -- West Virginia -- Charleston
Synagogues -- West Virginia -- Charleston
Temple Israel (Charleston, W. Va.)